Cordyceps has been used as a TCM for many centuries, generally to improve lung and kidney functions, reducing oxidative stress, decreasing risk of cardiovascular diseases, used as a tonic to strengthen the body after recovery and for general well-being. Many research and studies were done in vitro and in vivo and results proved that Cordyceps indeed has diverse biological activities and pharmacological properties.
Some of the health benefits of Cordyceps include:
- Protects and boosts kidneys and lungs
- Increases energy level, exercise capacity and reduces fatigue
- Improves immune system
- Supports liver function
- Good anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory function
- Promotes blood circulation and protects heart
- Anti-diabetic properties and regulates cholesterol
Cordyceps sinensis (C. sinensis) for Lungs and Respiratory Function
Wild C. sinensis has long been used to improve respiratory function and is also used to treat of respiratory diseases such as bronchitis, asthma, etc. Asthma, which can occur at all ages, is a condition whereby your airways become narrow due to inflammation, making one difficult to breathe. Asthma attacks are usually accompanied by wheezing sound, chest tightness, shortness of breath, coughing and a lot of mucus. During an attack, the airway becomes more swollen than normal resulting in an increase in airway resistance. The increase smooth muscle tone closes the airway when the lungs are taking in the air at almost its maximum capacity, trapping the air behind the small airways, which is why asthma patients are always gasping for breath during an attack.
Study 1: C. sinensis has anti-inflammatory properties and is a potential herb for prevention and cure for asthma.
Studies were conducted using asthmatic mice to observe the effect of C. sinensis on asthma prevention and treatment. 4 groups of mice were injected with different herbs and drugs. 4 weeks later, they were diagnosed using the animal lung analyzer. Mice being injected with 5g/kg of C. sinensis showed a lower value in pulmonary resistance (lung and airway resistance) compared to normal. There is also significant increase in white blood cells in C. sinensis injected mice. A lower value airway resistance and higher white blood cells suggested that CS has anti-inflammatory properties and is a potential herb for prevention and cure for asthma
Study 2: C. sinensis extract can be a good therapeutic agent for respiratory illnesses.
Pulmonary hypoxia (low oxygen level) occur and increases when there are inadequate air exchange in the lungs due to respiratory illnesses such as chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD), asthma, lung cancer, etc. C. sinensis extract on hypoxia-induced abnormal proliferation of pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells (PAMSCs) rats were studied. Mice treated with C. sinensis extract significantly inhibited the accumulation of cell mass in PAMSCs, inhibiting oncogenes (genes that might transform cells into tumour cells) that are induced by hypoxia which might aid cell proliferation. Inhibiting of hypoxia-induced proliferation provided evidence that C. sinensis extract can be a good therapeutic agent for respiratory illnesses.
Cordyceps sinensis for Anti-fatigue and Stamina Improvement
Study 1: C. sinensis is non toxic; improve hepatic blood flow that increases energy level, making one less fatigued.
Research were conducted to see the effects of Cordyceps extracts on the energy state in the liver by measuring the ATP:Pi (adenosine triphosphate : inorganic phosphate) ratio. ATP plays an essential role by providing energy to the cells. The mice were randomly divided into 9 groups with 6 mice in each group. Out of the 9 groups, only 4 groups’ received distilled water with dissolved C. sinensis extract (200mg/kg) for 3 weeks. The mice livers were examined using in vivo NMR spectroscopy and results showed that
- The livers did not show any sign of steatosis, necrosis, inflammation or fibrosis.
- C. sinensis treated groups had higher ATP:Pi (adenosine triphosphate : inorganic phosphate) ratio compared to control group.
C. sinensis is non toxic to the liver and the increase in ATP:Pi ratio proved that it increases energy level, making one less fatigued.
A follow up study was done to confirm if Cordyceps had the ability to increase hepatic blood flow as blood flow and energy were thought to be linked. 12 mice with iron deficiency problem (low amount of red blood cells) were divided into 2 groups. One of the groups was treated with C. sinensis extract (200mg/kg) for 4 weeks and again, the mice livers were examined using in vivo NMR spectroscopy.
- Once again, results showed that there were no sign of steatosis, necrosis, inflammation or fibrosis on neither groups.
- Hepatic blood flow rates were significantly higher in the C. sinensis extract treated group.
Experiment results showed that C. sinensis is non toxic even taken at high level and it helps to increase hepatic blood flow, which in turn increase the energy level, making one less fatigue.
Study 2: C. sinensis is a superior anti-fatigue supplement.
C. sinensis, apart from providing high energy levels, was also examined on its effectiveness for increasing endurance in human during prolonged exercising. C. sinensis supplements were given to 36 males over a period of 2 weeks. Before and after consumption of C. sinensis, they were asked to run on the treadmill. Tests done during exercising includes oxygen uptake (VO2), carbon dioxide output (VCO2), ventilatory volume (VE), lactic acid (LA), urine, etc. Experimental results shown that level of respiratory variables (VO2, VCO2, VE) and LA were significantly lower than the control group. C. sinensis treatment group also required lesser recovery times. C. sinensis appears to be a superior anti-fatigue supplement, enabling higher endurance performance by effectively utilising oxygen to increase energy metabolism and reduce recovery time.
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